President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba will open embassies in each other’s countries.
“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people,” Obama said in a press conference at the White House.
“The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past,” Obama added.
Reuters reports a letter from Obama discussing the restoration of diplomatic relations was delivered to Cuban President Raúl Castro Wednesday. The Cuban government announced Wednesday the embassies would re-open July 20.
Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to speak about the embassy openings, according to the AP. Obama said Kerry will travel to Havana later this summer “to formally, proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more.”
It was announced in December the U.S. and Cuba would seek to normalize relations for the first time since the U.S. cut off relations in 1961.